Safety Bulletins

Unformed Tracks - Planting!

"Lessons from the past, learnt at the cost of lives, have not been retained..." Royal Commission - Pike River Tragedy

Every year Silviculture workers plant millions of seedlings in New Zealand. Winter soil conditions are ideal, providing the best chance for survival.

However, winter conditions can also make planting much more risky for those involved and each of the last five years, we have lost vehicles off wet, grassy unformed tracks! We would like to think that we have learnt from the past.

Rigorous, Planning and Careful Monitoring is Key!

According to the ACoP (2.4.4), "the principal shall identify significant hazards specific to each work area which are caused by operations over which they have control and then (1) supply the employer with documentation on the hazards, and (2) jointly with the employer, determine measures to control the hazards." We must diligently attend to critical risks!

A forest owner (or its agent) will be sure to determine which tracks can be used by which vehicle and when. This information will be clearly marked on maps and in work prescriptions.

What can you (as a Contractor, PCBU or Worker) do?

  1. Ensure you and all those working with you understand the rules for access tracks.
  2. The ACoP (2.10.3) requires that each person travelling in a vehicle shall: (1)Have a suitable place to sit, (2) sit in a properly secured seat, and (3) wear a seatbelt where fitted. We might add it is sometimes quicker and safer to walk.
  3. Be vigilant - changing weather conditions (frost, heavy rain) will almost invariably require you to 're-evaluate the risks' and to apply additional control measures.

1The HSW Act 2015 uses terms not found in the ACoP, which will remain in force until it is updated in 2017. In the meantime all PCBUs must cooperate on critical risks and consider ways to eliminate or otherwise manage them.

View this article in Safety Bulletin 100